Heat and sweat are a challenge for many ostomates. Reduced wear time is common, but some ostomates have major issues with their appliance peeling or not sticking at all. Enter the coolWafer, which has been designed to cool the area around your stoma and under your wafer.
I’ve had quite a few people asking me whether I’ve tried this product or not, and someone from coolWafer reached out to me and arranged that a sample be sent.
About the coolWafer
One side of the coolWafer (the side that touches your skin) has a synthetic, blue fabric. This isn’t really designed to help keep moisture off your skin, but it does help to prevent the uncomfortable feeling that comes when touching your skin with something really cold. It also makes wearing the coolWafer more comfortable overall.
The other side is simply the flexible plastic that has some text on it, but not instructions.
Inside the coolWafer is a gel that reminds me those cold packs you’d put on a sports injury, but they don’t freeze solid like those “ice bricks” you’d normally stick in a cooler. This gel helps to keep the coolWafer flexible but cold.
When frozen, the coolWafer weighs approx. 125 grams (approx. 4.40 oz), although it doesn’t feel heavy when wearing it.
The product is made in Korea.
While the coolWafer feels durable in the hand, the official website says that “With gentle care, they should last a whole summer”. I would imagine that this depends on how often you use it and how you care for the product. I would also guess that if you do develop an appliance leak it’ll be difficult to clean the coolWafer completely.
The coolWafer will fit most wafers, but you will have to cut the center area to the appropriate size first.
With my Hollister wafers (#14603) I had to cut the coolWafer a bit to get the flange, which measures 57mm in diameter, to fit.
Once you’ve got it sized properly, you’ll want to put it either in the fridge or freezer before using it. I prefer keeping it in the freezer as it’ll stay cold for a longer period of time versus simply refrigerating it.
After it’s been chilled to your liking, you’ll fit it around your wafer and secure it with the velcro fasteners.
Note: While I’ve only been using the coolWafer with my two-piece appliances, it should fit one-piece systems without much trouble.
I’ve worn the coolWafer in temperatures in excess of 30 degrees Celsius (that’s 86 Fahrenheit for those still on the imperial system – I’m looking at you, my American friends!) and it’s been able to keep the area around my stoma for about an hour.
The coolWafer sticks out about an inch around the border of my ostomy bag on all sides. This may seem a little big, but the size helps it to keep cooler longer and provides better coverage around your stoma.
It does add bulk to my appliance overall, which make it more noticeable under clothing.
Something else I should mention, because I know some ostomates also love to wear their bags horizontally, is that the coolWafer does work in that setup. Since the accessory band used to hold the appliance sideways also gives added support to the coolWafer, I experienced no issues while using it this way.
I mentioned that I’ve been able to get about an hour’s worth of cold while wearing the coolWafer outdoors. The challenge is that many people may need it to last longer, so they would have to carry multiple coolWafers with them in a cooler pack or similar container to keep it cold (if they are out and about).
This may not be very practical for many people, however, it’s probably more convenient to do that than to have to deal with ostomy leaks caused by heat or sweating.
And finally, when it comes to cleaning the coolWafer, it’s a matter of wiping it with a cloth. Personally, because it’s likely that I’ve been sweating while wearing the coolWafer, I like to wash it under water and dry it with a cloth or paper towel – it’s important to get it as dry as possible before putting it in the freezer or you’ll end up with a coolWafer snowcone!
Is It Right for You?
The coolWafer isn’t for everyone. It’s a specialized product that’s likely going to be unnecessary for a vast majority of ostomates out there. But it really isn’t designed for all ostomates.
If you have trouble with your wafer sticking, or if you experience skin problems and inflammation caused by sweat or heat under your wafer, then this product may be able to help you.
At the time of this writing (Sept 2016), a single coolWafer sells for US$15 + shipping and handling. You can also purchase a three or ten pack for US$42 and US$120 respectively.
I contacted the company about shipping outside of the US, and they said they certainly could, but can’t guarantee there won’t be any duty or tariffs when it enters another country.
For more information about the coolWafer, please visit http://coolwafers.com/